So today’s post will be a bit more, erm, opinionated than usual. Actually, a LOT more opinionated.
Why? Because I am not happy.
I was reading the newspaper over the weekend (yes, I still read the hard-copy), when I came across the “Ask Amy” column. Basically, it’s an advice column, like “Dear Abby” and such. I usually don’t take it seriously, because the “people” who submit to it have serious issues- not just from what they wrote, but also from the way they convey it. I really wonder how Amy Dickinson (the eponymous advice columnist) can stand these people with their problems. Who knows, maybe she has issues, too. At times, I do question the tact that she puts into her responses…
But I digress. I came across one of the entries in the column, which reads like so:
Dear Amy: I am old and offended by the look of piercings (beyond the ears) and tattoos. I don’t mind if people want them, I just don’t want to look at them.
When I go to a bank, store or restaurant and the staff has these, I quietly close my accounts or take my business elsewhere.
I just changed veterinarians because the new receptionist had tattoos and a repulsive nose piercing. (Even the tiniest nose piercings repulse me.) My question is, should I disclose the reason I’ve taken my business elsewhere? I doubt they care, but I shop and eat out a lot. My friends all feel the same way, and luckily we will die off before too long. — Sensitive in Seattle
Like, seriously?? Who do you think you are? I’m not saying that you should accept piercings and tattoos, but you really need to see that having tattoos and piercings doesn’t change the quality of service that you receive. In other words, having piercings and tattoos doesn’t necessarily make the individual a “bad” person.
And you really need to work on tact. “Repulsive?” “Offended by the look of piercings…and tattoos?” Whaaat???
First of all, saying that something is “repulsive” is really offensive, especially when it is subjective: some people might find tattoos beautiful, others not. But man, you had to lay it on thick to make your point, didn’t you?
Second, just in what way are you offended by the look of piercings and tattoos? What have they done to offend you, beside just being there on the skin? They never harmed you, did they?
And by saying that your “friends all feel the same way” doesn’t make it any better. In fact, you all sound like ignorant toads. And you must have been living under a bubble for quite some time, because tattoos and (non-ear) piercings having been around for as long as you have; they’re nothing new! Moreover, there are plenty of old people nowadays who are sporting earrings and tattoos. And it’s completely fine!
As an individual who has a tattoo and accepts unconventional piercings, I was extremely insulted at this contributor’s letter. It seemed that the person was implying that people with piercings and tattoos are “bad,” “unprofessional,” or “crooks.” Maybe I’m looking too deep into this, but in any case, I think it’s a fair assumption.
It’s an ugly stereotype that needs to stop. And I do have to agree with Amy’s response:
Dear Sensitive: It is not at all “lucky” that you and your cohort will die off soon. Please don’t say that!
Your aversion to tattoos and piercings is so strong that you make it sound like you have a phobia. (A phobia is an aversion that ruins your life and controls your choices.)
If you abruptly withdraw your patronage from the bank, restaurant or veterinary practice, you might as well give yourself further satisfaction by revealing the reason. They will be relieved that your departure wasn’t a reflection of the quality of their service.
My overall point is, this is your problem, and you should manage it however you wish. What you can’t do is change the culture.
The last sentence is on point. While I wished that Amy would have been more firm in her stance on the issue (aka she should have really told the person off), her response was tactful enough, especially for publication. I’m still not convinced that this person has a phobia of piercings and tattoos, but whatever…
That being said, piercings and tattoos are not bad things. They shouldn’t be looked at in disgust. Don’t make assumptions about people’s personalities just because they have them; it may be completely false.
Don’t live in ignorance: break the stereotype.
– The Finicky Cynic